I am a big fan of Edith Wharton, even when her characters are driving me crazy. Her writing is beautiful, insightful and relatable–although it was written almost 100 years ago. I think it was another cannonball reviewer who recommended Summer (1917) to me and I’ve just now finally gotten around to reading it.
Summer revolves around Charity Royall, a young woman bored by her small-town, Massachusetts life and lack of opportunities. She yearns for something more but her ignorance and lack of options holds her back. She resents and is disgusted by her guardian, Mr. Royall, the town attorney, who wants to marry her. Charity is a fascinating character who is often selfish, ignorant, and at times both snobbish and concerned with her own inadequacy. Charity meets Lucius Harney when he comes visiting, and she is immediately swept away by his intelligence, elegance, and symbol of things she’s looking for in life.
What follows is one of the most realistic love stories I have ever read.